How to keep your Mac’s camera from spying on you, no tape required

“It’s the staple of all hacker and government-conspiracy fiction, not to mention quite a number of horror films: You’re being watched through your hacked computer or phone or through a hijacked surveillance camera feed,” Glenn Fleishman writes for Macworld. “And, unfortunately, this is well-reasoned paranoia in the real world, because to an operating system, a camera is just another file that can be read and relayed.”

“Earlier this year, in response to the news and to reader queries, I went into detail with a few ways you could disable microphone input in software and hardware on a Mac. Video is surprisingly (or not so surprisingly) easier to block: You can simply put a piece of tape over a lens,” Fleishman writes. “Security guru Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist at the ACLU, told an interviewer in August, ‘the best bang-for-buck when it comes to privacy… is putting a sticker or a Band-Aid over your webcam on your laptop.’ That’s what Mark Zuckerberg did, and he also covered his mic — which, as I noted in the previous article, doesn’t help nearly as much as audio will still bleed through.”

But, “what you can do besides tape?” Fleishman writes. “Some new and existing software for macOS can help.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: For the camera, nothing is as foolproof and unhackable as physically covering it.

We’ve been taping our Mac cameras for several years. Call us paranoid, but first see the related articles below. That’s why we use camJAMR iSight camera covers on our iMacs and MacBook Airs. They’re black, so they work perfectly with our iMacs and they’re removable/reusable. We’ve stuck and unstuck them hundreds of times. We just leave them on and peel them aside when we want to use the iSight camera. Plus they’re only $15.95.

Mark Zuckerberg covers his MacBook’s camera and microphone with tape – June 22, 2016
How to disable the iSight camera on your Mac – February 19, 2015
Orwellian: UK government, with aid from US NSA, intercepted webcam images from millions of users – February 27, 2014
Sextortion warning: It’s masking tape time for webcams – June 28, 2013
Research shows how Mac webcams can spy on their users without warning light – December 18, 2013
Ex-official: FBI can secretly activate an individual’s webcam without indicator light – December 9, 2013
Lower Merion report: MacBook webcams snapped 56,000 clandestine images of high schoolers – April 20, 201

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Lynn Weiler” for the heads up.]


    1. Also, I should add that it’s funny because so few people who tape their Mac cameras also tape their iPhone cameras, or better yet disable the mics on iPhones or Macs.

      It’s like wearing a tin foil hat instead of a helmet when riding a motorcycle.

        1. True I haven’t seen it serve any other purpose yet but I could see Apple thinking far enough ahead to design it so it might be controlled to blink to indicate something.

  1. OR, you can use the backing tape for wall hooks. The kind where you pull a tab to remove the tape without leaving a mark or removing paint. The peel-n-stick glue works over and over and every package of ‘hooks’ comes with plenty of extra tape. Just purchase the small size.

  2. Of greater concern for me is the mic. How do we disable that? Photos of me staring foolishly at my MacBook screen wouldn’t be as invasive as audio recordings of life and conversations around my house. Any suggestions for the mic?

    1. It’s usually next to the camera so a Post-it would probably work fine. Doing the same on a smartphone however would be counterproductive for obvious reasons. 😀

  3. I’m using the OverSight app. It works fine. But I get a bit tired of its notifications.

    I own and use MicroSnitch. But it isn’t compatible with Boom, which I enjoy using on my Macs. Therefore, I count on OverSight.

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